Ray Rice and Janay Palmer (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
[Admin Note: Around 230pm EST, it was reported that the Baltimore Ravens have cut Ray Rice from the football team.]
I never played double-dutch as a kid, but I have always likened the playground game to mixing it up with my followers and those I follow on Twitter. It’s challenging, especially because as great of a place as Twitter can be for receiving breaking news, it is a pretty bad place to discuss it. So when I was on there this morning and I saw TMZ released more video footage of Ray Rice knocking out his now-wife, Janay Palmer, in an elevator, I just knew my timeline was going to shout over one another with points good and bad.
In the hours since this news has broke, #blacktwitter, #SportsTwitter, and #feministTwitter have converged on the platform, creating a category 5 storm of incomprehension. Ray Rice is the number one trending topic worldwide. Dialogue, at least a healthy one, will not be had, so I’m bringing these questions I have over to you beautiful, smart, reasonable people here at VSB.
That’s right, I have questions, and trust me, some of them may be basic, but they’re not simple. They’re also not being asked for the sake of pushing an agenda. I just want to discuss an issue (domestic violence) in context (Ray Rice, a employee of the NFL and his wife, Janay Palmer). So here are my questions:
To the Ray Rice defenders, what now?
A reiteration of something Damon mentioned in his post earlier today, I want someone to answer this question if you’re still on his side. Seriously, I’m not going to pass judgement on you as a person simply because I disagree with you (and be clear, I vehemently disagree with anyone who is saying Ray Rice isn’t more wrong than wrong can be), but this video doesn’t help anyone who is on team Ray Rice. Also, if this video changed your mind (because seeing her being dragged out of the elevator earlier this year wasn’t enough), why did it change your mind?
If Ray Rice is your son, brother, friend, or teammate, what do you do?
There is this tendency by many to ask people what they would do if Janay Palmer was their mother or sister, but I always think that question isn’t challenging enough since I think it’s fairly easy to say we would all defend the honor of a woman we loved and cared about. The better question is what we would do if we knew someone like Ray Rice? As far as I know, had I been caught on video doing what Ray Rice did, I am sure there would not be one person in my corner, not even my boys, and I couldn’t blame them. I would like to think I know all the men I consider brothers and men in my family to be guys who would never be violent towards their women, but I often wonder if I discovered they were, how would I treat them moving forward?
At what point are we shaming Palmer for deciding to not only partially blame herself for what took place in the elevator but also marrying him shortly afterward?
Before today’s video even surfaced, I was giving the Ravens a side-eye when they tweeted this out back in May:
Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) May 23, 2014
But keep in mind, Palmer and Rice tied the knot the day before that tweet was sent, the day after Rice was indicted by a grand jury for third-degree aggravated assault charges, so I was also looking at her slightly crazy too.
Now? I just find this whole thing sad to the point where I actually don’t even want to take her to task if she blamed herself or for marrying Rice when she knows what he’s capable of. I personally think the decisions she’s made are her’s to square up with herself, the daughter her and Rice have, and her God. And while I certainly understand why some of us are wondering what possessed her to STAND BY HER ATTACKER’S SIDE, I wonder if we’re going too far with expressing that.
Is Roger Goodell the worst or what?
This one is a challenge especially to the sports historians out there: find me a league commissioner who is worse than Goodell. Seriously. The NFL’s front office (of which he is the boss) is already denying they saw this latest video which, Goodell, you a lie. But assuming they didn’t see it, that doesn’t mean they didn’t know about it. Even after Goodell updated the domestic violence policy to ban second-time offenders from the game for life, I thought he was a joke. Now? I’m not even laughing. The majority of his decisions have made it more difficult for me to be a fan in good consciousness, and even though I will continue to watch this game I enjoy, Goodell has got to go. Right?